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March 13, 2013

Green Wave rallies to beat Marshall in C-USA tourney opener

New rule for Tulane basketball in 2013: It isn't a game until the Green Wave falls behind by double digits.

Ricky Tarrant capped a dramatic comeback from a 13-point second-half deficit by banking in a long 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left as Tulane beat Marshall 66-64 in the first round of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday night in Tulsa. Tarrant bailed out a bad possession at the end of the shot clock, but all that matters is surviving and advancing in postseason play.

It was Tulane's first C-USA tournament win in four years and only the 11th time the Green Wave has won its opening game in 34 tournament appearances since the formation of the old Metro Conference in 1975-76. The Wave will try to make it two in a row for the first time since 1983 on Thursday, taking on top seed Memphis at 6 p.m.

Tulane, which never led by more than 2 until Tarrant's bomb, still had to survive some scary moments after his shot. The referees reviewed a replay for several minutes and determined Tulane's Josh Davis had elbowed DeAndre Kane in the face on a previous possession, awarding Kane two free throws for an intentional foul.

Kane missed the first and sank the second, giving Marshall a chance to tie or win on its final possession. The Wave exhaled when Elijah Pittman's leaner rolled off the rim at the buzzer, finally catching a break after four consecutive excruciating losses at the end of the regular season.

Tulane, which shot a dreadful 26.9 percent in the first half, drained 54 percent in the second half. The Wave connected on seven of 11 3-opinters after hitting just 1 of 12 before the break.

Tarrant scored 11 points in a row as Tulane cut into the deficit midway through the second. Ben Cherry also made two critical 3-pointers.

Tarrant had a team-high 21 points. Davis, who was called for three fouls in the first half, added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Kendall Timmons chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Kane led all scorers with 22 points but also committed six turnovers.

One thing is certain: never give up on this team.

Tulane rallied from 18 down in the second half to beat Houston, from 14 down to beat SMU, overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to go ahead of Southern Miss before losing and rallied from 11 down to tie East Carolina in a close loss during the second half of the year.







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